Ombudsman

Ombudsman Contact Number – 0330 440 1614

Ombudsman Helpline – 0330 440 1614

The Ombudsman Service is a free, impartial body that provides intervention in unresolved disputes between consumers and companies across a variety of industries in the UK. The relevant department for disputes relating to communications providers is Ombudsman Services: Communications.

This service can be used by all UK domestic communications customers and small businesses employing 10 people or less.

About Ombudsman Services: Communications

Ombudsman Services: Communications was established in 2002 and is based in Warrington, UK. It is a not-for-profit organisation funded entirely by the subscription fees it receives from member companies, and case fees charged to companies involved in disputes. It does not cost anything to consumers raising cases with the Ombudsman, or to the taxpayer.]

Ombudsman Telephone Number – 0330 440 1614

The Ombudsman Service operates under the terms of the Communications Act 2003. It is approved by the government and by Ofcom, the regulatory body for the UK communications industry. Ofcom does not intervene in any disputes itself.

The service is governed by a Board of executive and non-executive directors. It is advised by a number of groups who identify trends and possible problems within the industry. The service works closely with communications service providers to encourage best practices throughout the industry, in order to avoid as many disputes as possible.

The Ombudsman Service can only intervene in disputes relating to companies that are signed up to the scheme. Most of the main communications providers in the UK are members, including BT, EE and TalkTalk. A full list of member companies can be found at https://www.ombudsman-services.org/memberlists/communications/

What the Ombudsman Service can deal with

The Ombudsman Service can deal with problems relating to the following services:

  • Contract and pre-paid mobile phones and smartphones
  • Landline telephones
  • Internet provision including fixed broadband, mobile broadband and dial-up
  • WiFi
  • SMS text services
  • Pay TV

It is also able to deal with complaints about certain services and products for disabled people, including text relay and free directory enquiries.

The types of disputes the Ombudsman can intervene in include issues to do with billing, switching providers, mobile phone handsets and customer service. It can also handle complaints relating to premium rate phone services and pay television.

What the Ombudsman Service does not cover

  • Disputes with companies which are not signed up to the scheme.
  • Problems already being handled via other complaints procedures including the courts.
  • Internal issues within communications companies, or disputes between different communications companies.
  • Issues relating to cabling and wiring within the home.
  • Complaints about the location of mobile phone masts or telegraph poles.
  • Complaints about content, including of websites, advertisements, calls, texts, emails or other messages.

How the Ombudsman Service works

The Ombudsman Service cannot intervene in problems that have not previously been raised with the service provider. If you have a complaint, you should raise it with your provider as quickly as possible, clearly stating the nature of their complaint and why you are making it. The communications company then has eight weeks to respond. If the company proposes a satisfactory solution, you should accept it and not involve the Ombudsman.

If after eight weeks the company has not responded or the dispute is in a deadlock situation, the Ombudsman can then intervene. It will look at all the evidence provided by both sides in order to come to a fair decision.

What solutions can the Ombudsman Service provide?

The Ombudsman Service has the power to request a number of different solutions from communications companies. These are:

  • Apologies
  • Explanations of how problems occurred
  • Practical solutions to put things right
  • Financial awards.

The Ombudsman Service can require companies to pay financial awards to customers of up to £10,000; however, the usual amount is about £50.

Once a customer has accepted the decision, the company about which the complaint was made then has 28 days to meet the Ombudsman’s requirements, which are enforceable in court. The service can also make recommendations to companies i order to ensure complaints of the same nature don’t occur again.

If a customer rejects the Ombudsman’s decision, they lose their right to that resolution and then have to take their complaint to the courts if they want to try for a different outcome.

How to Contact the Ombudsman Service

The Ombudsman Service can be contacted by phone on 0330 440 1614. Lines are open 9.00am-5.00pm, Monday to Friday.

You can also contact the service by post at:

Ombudsman Services: Communications

PO Box 730

Warrington WA4 6WU

Or by email: osenquiries@os-communications.org

Alternatively, a Contact Form is available on the website at https://www.ombudsman-services.org/contact-us-communications.html